Archive for the 'CSA' Category

Grandma Jo’s Stuffed Mushrooms

Hello fall! We’ve missed you and glad you’re back.

Fall brings so many wonderful things: pumpkins, squash and apples… but it’s also the time of year that I always seem to crave mushrooms. It’s great weather for storing and drying them and they tend to pair well with fall produce. I decided to bring back one of my favorite recipes from the beta issue of the magazine, Grandma Jo’s Stuffed Mushrooms. These stuffed mushrooms are great to have out at a Halloween party or Thanksgiving dinner because they are easy to prepare and eat while standing around with a cocktail, or dressed as a monster. The recipe happens to call for tomatoes which due to the warm fall we’ve been having are still around! I got some today in my CSA share and the farmer of Garden of Eve Organic Farm said that he thinks this might be one of the best years for tomatoes he’s ever seen.

Joe Brancaccio of Brancaccio’s Food Shop in Brooklyn (Kensington/Windsor Terrace) shared this delicious, yet simple, recipe with me for the mushroom issue of the magazine last spring. It’s his Grandmother’s recipe. While Grandma Jo was originally from Messina, Sicily, stuffed mushrooms are popular throughout Italy (and Brooklyn). Grandma Jo used button mushrooms because that was what was available to her and affordable, but you can also use criminis, which have a deeper flavor. This special dish, which works wonderfully as an appetizer, is something she would make for birthdays and family celebrations.

Grandma Jo’s Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb large button or crimini mushrooms

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 slices bacon or prosciutto chopped

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 tbsp. grated cheese (parmesan or locatelli romano)

1 tbsp. parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup plum tomatoes or tomato sauce

1.   Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Clean mushrooms and remove stems.
3.   Chop stems into small pieces.
4.   Sauté the onion, bacon and mushroom stems in the olive oil to a golden brown.
5.   Add bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper and simmer a few minutes longer.
6.   Remove from fire, add beaten egg and tomatoes and mix together.
7.    Fill caps with stuffing. Drizzle with additional olive oil and bake in oven for 30 minutes.

You can visit Joe at:
Brancaccio’s Food Shop
3011 Fort Hamilton Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11218


post by Carli Heggen


Farm Fresh Eggs

Eggs are my most favorite food. They are extremely versatile — You can eat them on their own in various ways or use them as an ingredient in sweet or savory recipes. My dad first introduced me to farm fresh eggs when he served me up a neon yellow, almost orange omelette. The flavor was so rich and robust. It really tasted like…eggs! I have been a convert and farm egg evangelist ever since.

Farm egg on the left, Store egg on the right. Notice the difference in the color of the yolk.

I get my eggs from a local egg producer in Bend, Oregon. Receiving the box of little gems never gets old and they are always beautiful shades of whites and browns. In fact, the color of the shell had nothing to do with nutrition, but with the breed of the chicken. The best part of course is the color of the yolks when you break one open for a Saturday morning scramble. Sometimes, you will even get a siamese-yolk — 2 yolks in one egg. This usually happens with a young hen who is just getting the hang of laying.

A box of farm fresh eggs usually runs about $4 a dozen. It’s a bit more than a carton from the store, but I have noticed that they last just as long because they are so rich (One egg on toast is the perfect way to start the day). Besides, you are supporting the local farm and can be assured your chickens were roaming the fields eating grass and bugs, rather than being stuck in a cage eating grain.

I decided to make a vanilla pudding with my latest egg delivery. It is a simple recipe and you can impress your friends by making pudding from scratch!

1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

2. Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into egg yolks, then stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla.

3. Pour pudding into dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top, touching the pudding to avoid the “skin.”


post by Tiare Packard

Fresh and Local CSA

spoonful focuses on our home town, New York, but I’m happy to introduce you to some new cities and what their local food has to offer. Our newest contributor Tiare Packard is a proud new member of her local CSA in Bend, Oregon. Tiare will be sharing the adventures and surprises that CSA brings for all of us to enjoy and experiment along with. Today she talks about taking a risk with Dinosaur Kale… yes it’s really called Dinosaur Kale.

Summer CSA Box

Summer has almost arrived and today I picked up my first ever CSA box filled with the season’s crops of fresh fruits and vegetables. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture which is a direct connection from the farm to the table. It allows you to purchase “shares” from a farm which are usually picked up on a weekly basis. The share is a box which contains a wonderful variety of very fresh seasonal produce all throughout the farming season.  It allows the customer to buy local and support farms in their area. A CSA is also very community oriented — I pick mine up at a local restaurant where families walk together to receive their box and you can chat with the farmer who grew your salad. Today there was even a local baker giving free samples of delicious bread to get the word out.

The best part about the CSA box is that each week has different items and you will always be surprised by the produce you receive. It challenges you to be creative with the produce and branch out from your normal recipes. You will almost always be greeted by at least one unusual vegetable each week — Kohlrabi, Kale, Chard, Romanesque Cauliflower, Fennel and on and on. At first it can be a bit intimidating, but just jump in and try a new technique or recipe and I can guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

This week in my CSA box, I received so many wonderful things including Red Leaf Lettuce, Radishes, Green Onions, Chard, Broccoli, Red and White Potatoes, Kale and best of all — a carton of organic Strawberries! All are in their freshest state and full of color and flavor. Everything is also organic, so you may encounter a little friend nestled between your lettuce leaves. Today I found a tiny slug! Be sure to do a few good rinses before you begin cooking.

In the spirit of being adventurous, I went straight for the oddest item in the box — Dinosaur Kale or Lacinato Kale (thank god for Google). I haven’t had a lot of luck cooking leafy greens in the past, so tonight I was determined to make them delicious. I chose a zesty combination to really give the greens a blast of flavor — Garlic, Chili Flakes and Lemon Juice. They turned out absolutely mouth-watering and I cannot wait to make them again. Note that this recipe can be used with just about any greens including chard, mustard greens, beet greens or collards. You may just need to adjust the cooking time to get the desired texture.

Fresh Kale

Garlic Chili Kale with Lemon

The greens will shrink considerably when cooked, but will still serve around 4 people as a side dish.

1 bunch of kale (about 20 leaves)

1 tbsp of kosher salt (to salt the water and also to season before serving)

2 tbsp of olive oil for sautéing

3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin or minced

1 tsp of red chili flakes

lemon juice

1. Boil a large pot of water and salt well.

2. Wash the greens to remove all dirt and trim the tough stems off. Chop roughly.

3. Add the greens to the boiling water and cook until tender. For kale, no more than 2 minutes.

4. Drain immediately and add to a bath of ice water. This will stop the cooking right away and also help the leaves retain a nice green color even after cooking. Squeeze out as much water as possible.

5. Sauté the garlic and chili flakes in olive oil in a large skillet for about 30 seconds, until the flavors come out.

6. Add the greens, stir with garlic and chili, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir occasionally. Serve in a bowl and toss with salt to flavor and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can also add a little lemon zest for even more flavor.

To find a CSA near you, visit Local Harvest.


post by Tiare Packard

July 2018
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